Second wave of bushfires expected this week

BUSHFIRE conditions are expected to worsen across New South Wales as the state braces for a second wave of fires this week, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned on Sunday.

As the RFS continued to battle blazes which have already burnt more than 37,000ha of NSW, the Queensland Government was also warning the Sunshine State to prepare for the worst.

Comm Fitzsimmons said NSW could expect conditions to deteriorate over Monday and Tuesday, culminating in an even higher bushfire risk Wednesday this week.

Speaking on Sunday, he said there were already 60 fires burning across the state, 15 of which were uncontrolled.

A blanket fire ban remains in place across the state, with three "watch and act" warnings in place across the Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands and an emergency warning also out on areas of the Blue Mountains.

Comm Fitzsimmons said the fire service would normally be concerned about the forecast conditions, even without the existing fires already burning.

He said while it was dangerous to draw parallels, the forecasts showed an "unparalleled exposure" for more severe bushfires across the Blue Mountains, including near residential areas.

"No matter what situation you look at, there is going to be a significant amount of fire activity across the Blue Mountains in the coming week," he said.

Comm Fitzsimmons said the combination of temperature reaching past the 30s, wind strengths of up to 70-100km/h and low humidity would make for another tough week battling fires.

He said a new taskforce had been created, including top leaders in fire, emergency response and police, to coordinate efforts, with forced evacuations one option already being considered in some areas.

The warnings came as Queensland Resilience Minister David Crisafulli urged all Queenslanders to get ready for the bushfire season by cleaning and preparing evacuation plans.

"We've had a terrible run of floods and cyclones in the past few years but with hot conditions and plenty of fuel on the ground we must be ready for bushfires," he said.

"In recent days we've seen the damage bushfires can cause and that's why it's so important locals do everything they can now to protect their home and loves ones."

For the latest warnings in NSW and Queensland respectively; go to: http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or: http://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au



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